Most rental agreements require a security deposit. Typically, this amount is equal to one month’s rent and is due at the time a tenant signs the lease. A security deposit is refundable and serves to protect the landlord in the event of default, damage or cleaning needed once a tenant decides to move. Unfortunately, most renters don’t consider these things until they are ready to check out. Enter – us! In order to assist with some commonly missed items, we have compiled a list of things to avoid to help save your security deposit. Check them out below!
1. Skipping Cleaning
When heading to check a tenant out of their apartment – finding it in good, clean condition is a landlords dream. Usually, there is only 24 hours to turn an entire apartment before a new tenant is going to move in. Skipping this step is time consuming and landlords charge for cleaning by the time.
How can you avoid this issue? Make sure you leave enough time to clean thoroughly before your meeting to move out with your landlord. Most renters make the mistake of rushing at the last minute or assuming their apartment isn’t “that dirty”. If you’ve ever moved before, you already know that everything is A LOT dirtier than it seems on the surface.
Thankfully, our tenants never have to worry about what our standard of clean is or what we will be looking for during their move. 60 days prior to their move out date, we provide them a digital copy of a cleaning packet full of tips and tricks! The month of their big move, we leave them a printed paper copy to use as a checklist too. This packet is packed with beneficial information like what cleaning products work best, a room-by-room guide, and even the cost of simple things like a lightbulb replacement. If your landlord does not provide you with a similar move out packet, try requesting one prior to your scheduled move. You’ll be happy you did!
There are obvious forms of damage that are not debatable, right? Finding a large hole in a door or bleach stains on the carpet. Both are examples of damage that a tenant could be charged for, and those charges would be taken from their security deposit. Not-so-clear forms of damage may look more like a broken refrigerator drawer or busted blinds. The best way to avoid losing any money from your security deposit for damages would be to treat your apartment home well. Be mindful that the space and appliances are owned by someone else who has to maintain them over a reasonable amount of time.
If you aren’t sure who would be responsible in the event that damage occurs in your apartment, call your landlord and discuss those items. Oftentimes, renters mention they didn’t leave a scratch in a drawer or a scuff on the wall. Those are probably things a landlord would mark as normal wear and tear. Items like burnt out light bulbs however, would be something they charge to replace.
3. Missing Rent
The security deposit is not your first month’s rent or your last month’s rent. Renter’s are expected to pay their last month’s rent in full and their security deposit will be returned to them, minus any charges, once they move out. Most landlords follow state or federal requirements dictating the amount of time they have to return the security deposit balance. Make sure you know and provide a correct forwarding address to your landlord upon your move.
When it comes to maintaining your security deposit – preperation and dedication are key! Keeping your apartment in nice condition throughout your tenancy is crucial. Leaving enough time during your big move is super important too! We hope these 3 tips leave you feeling confident that you’ll avoid any concerns with your security deposit returns in the future.